The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are two of my favorite book and movie series. I enjoy the adventure and character development. I could watch all six movies again and again. One of the scenes from the Hobbit involves Bilbo Baggins and his troupe of dwarves trudging through the Milkwood Forest. Gandalf warns them to remain on the path. For a while they meander through the forest diligently following the trail through the dense and expansive woods. At one point they veer off course. As they look down they no longer find themselves on the path. They are lost.
They are in the midst of a forest with no end in sight. The path has disappeared. They busily scurry around looking for it in the hopes that they can retrace their steps and continue on their journey without incident. It is too late. They lose all direction. Without an awareness of their surroundings, their situation becomes desperate. Gandalf’s warning takes on a dire fulfillment. If a person remains on the path, the forest has no influence on a person. However, once a person gets lost, the forest places a hazy spell on them. The travelers are not only lost, they are disoriented without any hope of survival. At this point, Thorin, the leader of the dwarves, tells Bilbo to climb a tree to see if he can determine their location and guide them out of the forest. Biblo scampers up the tree. Once at the top, he is free from the spell. He looks out and sees the edge of the forest. In the distance, he spots their destination, the Lonely Mountain. In the movie, he hollers that he sees where they need to go. Biblo sees the entire forest. He has now gained perspective.
There is a lesson to be learned from this scene.
It is easy for us to get stuck in the forest. The stress of life becomes overwhelming. Numerous demands are tossed at us. All you see are the responsibilities and tasks for the week. You run from one activity to the next then fall into bed exhausted from another busy day. You do not see any sign of it stopping. You grow frustrated because you are tired of the crazy. At this point, you become disoriented. You cannot determine legitimate priorities from those that are not. You are reacting to situations and people rather than having a clear direction for your life. You have moments of hope which are quickly squelched by some disappointing news.
It is easy to get stuck in the forest.
In these disorienting moments, it is necessary to gain perspective. We need to take a step back and breathe. We need to see the big picture in life not simply this moment. We need to take stock of what is important and focus on those things. We need to be thankful for the blessings we do have rather than the ones we don’t have. We need to see what God is doing in the midst of the forest so that we can follow Him.
The beautiful truth for believers is that we have immediate access to the One who has perfect perspective. He sees not only the forest but the entire expanse. Furthermore, He sees the correct path and destination and how long it will take us to get there. He can warn us of the pitfalls and remind us of the breathtaking moments we need to cherish. In Christ, we are never lost. We might not always see the big picture. There are moments where we wander and stumble. However, we are always with the One who can guide us out of such times. And for this we can have hope.